40 Hours in Montreal

Aside from the childhood landmarks –the penguins at the Biodome, my grandmother’s kitchen, the mountain, a family favourite souvlaki joint– I’ve realized that I don’t know Montreal all that well. It’s still a familiar place; most of our extended family and many friends call la belle province home, but despite years of visiting I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of the city.

With my twin and his boyfriend as our local guides, we had a jam-packed 40 hours exploring in the city. Le Plateau. Mile End. Le Vieux Port. There were some places of nostalgia, but mostly lots of new-to-me spots. We café crawled, bar hopped, and karaoked our hearts out. Here are some favourites from our most recent visit…

To go down the rabbit hole: Bethlehem XXX. You’ll find an interesting menu and even more “interesting” décor. While I don’t think it’s for everyone, we all enjoyed our (relatively cheap!) food, and would definitely go back.

Not a hotel: Hôtel Herman. Chic space, friendly service, and memorable dishes that from affordable to splurge-level. We only snacked, but didn’t leave hungry. Intrigued by their wine list, we sampled several by the glass, but we have since heard that it’s their cocktails that are a must. Only one way to find out…

For natural wines: Le Comptoir. Nine of us squeezed in to the only corner of the bar left when we arrived. After splitting a couple bottles of wine, no one really minded the extra-cozy space. We eventually snagged the biggest table in the place, and enjoyed a good mix of their “French/Italian tapas”. I’m still thinking about a dessert that combined chocolate ganache and a black olive purée.

Bière me: Dieu du Ciel. With everything from a Rosé d’hibiscus, to heavy-hitting imperial stouts on taps, there’s a beer here for everyone. It might have something to do with the name, but my personal favourite from this trip was “Disco Soleil”, a kumquat IPA.

Traditioooon: St-Viateur Bagel. Bring a Montreal classic home with you (or a dozen).

Get caféiné…mtl cafe crawl (5)Hip and crafty: Arts Café.
Get there early for brunch! Everything was tasty from the shakshuka to the granola.mtl cafe crawl (1)Russian Beignets: Chez Boris.
Donuts, coffee, tea, and kitsch. Style and substance: Café Myriade.
In a pretty Club Monaco on St-Catherine Street there’s an even prettier café. It includes a cute book selection and local goods to boot.mtl cafe crawl (4)New charm in the Old Port: Tommy Café.
With bright decor and even higher ceilings, Tommy is an inviting breath of fresh air/caffeine.

Un grand merci to the boys for their hospitality and for leading the way. Can’t wait to do it again. Any recommendations for the next time we have 40 hours in the city?

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